Welcome to the March 2023 Power BI Feature Summary!
After almost 10 years, support for Windows 8.1 has ended on January 10, 2023. In line with this, Microsoft will stop the support for Power BI Desktop on Windows 8.1 on January 31, 2024. After that, Power BI Desktop will only be supported on Windows 10 and newer. The January 2024 release of Power BI Desktop for Report Server will be the last release to support Windows 8.1, and this version will only receive security updates until January 2025 per the Modern Lifecycle Policy.
This release you’ll find On-object interaction, which allows you to right-click on a visual to access the format pane, updates to the way you can apply slicers on your reports using a new Apply All Slicers button, Multiple Audiences in the Power BI app, email subscriptions for scorecards, and the General Availability of Storytelling in PowerPoint. Read on for these features and more in Reporting, Data Connectivity, Service, Mobile, and Visualizations!
Apply all slicers button, Clear all slicers button, and Optimization presets update
When Microsoft released the Public Preview of the Optimize ribbon with Pause visuals for authoring reports, many of you asked for a way to allow your report consumers to make slicer selections and have the report visuals only update when they have finished making all slicer selections. The wait is now over! Microsoft now announces the availability of the Apply all slicers button!
The Apply all slicers button can be added in three ways:
- From the Optimize ribbon > Apply all slicers button
- From the Insert ribbon > Buttons > Apply all slicers
- Or, simply by choosing the Apply all slicers action on any existing button in your report.
You can add as many of these buttons as you like to your report page. When at least one of them is visible on the page, all the slicers on your report page will take selection changes but will only apply them to the other report visuals when the button is clicked. If you hide or delete the last Apply all slicers button on a report page, then the slicers simply behave like they did before, generally instantly applying the selections as you make selections.
This Apply all slicers button is like the existing single apply button on slicers in that they both do not apply the slicer selections to other visuals until you click the button. Unlike the single apply button on slicers, the Apply all slicers button will allow you to make selections across multiple slicers and then apply them in one click! For the best query reduction experience with slicers, Microsoft recommends using the Apply all slicers instead of the single apply button for slicers. The single apply button for slicers is still available and will continue to work on existing reports. The Optimization preset for Query reduction has been adjusted to no longer add the single apply button for slicers on slicers, and instead recommends the Apply all slicers button.
Additionally, a popular idea on the Power BI Ideas forum is for a Clear all slicers button, which has been also added with the Apply all slicers button! When there are several slicers on a report page and you want a way to quickly clear all their selections, add the Clear all slicers button and your report consumers can do so in one click!
Finally, the Optimize ribbon with Pause visuals, Optimization presets, and the quick access to Apply all slicers button is on by default as a preview feature starting this release.
Format Pane – new styling
To address customer feedback on the depth perceived by the white background and drop shadow treatment causing dizziness from the new format pane, Microsoft has darkened the style, and added borders instead of drop shadows when OS setting for reduced motion is enabled.
|Current format pane||New format pane style||With reduce motion setting|
On-object interaction (Opt-in)
Introducing On-object! The new way to build and format your visuals.
Microsoft has heard time and again from our user research studies that Power BI desktop is hard to use. Microsoft has also seen countless new users struggle to navigate our UI to perform simple actions such as completely missing the fields pane all the way on the right side of the screen, unable to add data to the correct field wells, fishing around the format pane to rename, change colors, or format text styles of their visual. These same users instinctively right-click on areas of the visual expecting a menu to help. Aligning to Microsofts new “Office-like” strategy, they bring you On-object, a new way to build and format visuals directly on the visual.
Microsoft invites you to try it out for yourself. Please give this a try by turning on the preview switch: File > Options and settings > Options > Preview Features > On-object interaction.
For more details on the feature, read On-object | Public Preview (Opt-in)
Visual container improvements
With this release, Microsoft introduces three key features to help you customize your visuals’ container.
You can now turn on a subtitle that can be used to add extra context to your visuals. You’ll find the new “Subtitle” toggle in the Title settings card of the formatting pane.
To visually separate the visual header from its contents you can add a divider line. You can find the “Divider” option in the Title settings card of the formatting pane, below the new “Subtitle”.
Here’s the visual container with Subtitle and Divider on:
In addition to the Subtitle and Divider on your visual container, you can control the space below each component. You’ll find the “Spacing” setting at the bottom of the Title settings card of the formatting pane.
You can now control the container’s margin to create a negative space making the visuals look more professional and appealing. You’ll find this new option in the Properties card of the formatting pane
Google BigQuery, Google BigQuery Azure AD (Connector Update)/
This update contains bug fixes on the Azure Active Directory Single-Sign On scenario.
Azure Databricks, Databricks (Connector Update)
The Azure Databricks and Databricks connectors have been updated. Below are notes from the Databricks team.
This update contains the following fixes and improvements:
- Fixed DAX DAY, MONTH, YEAR queries. Now DAX DAY query works and MONTH and YEAR DAX queries generate more efficient queries pushed down to the Databricks SqlWarehouse.
- Improved Native Query by caching the result of schema inference query instead of issuing multiple schema inference queries
- Improved Native Query performance by utilizing LIMIT 0 query for schema inference
Dremio Cloud (Connector Update)
The Dremio Cloud connector has been updated. Below are notes from the Dremio team.
- Dremio Cloud has now removed the Beta flag and is now generally available.
FactSet RMS (Connector Update)
The FactSet RMS connector has been updated. Below are notes from the FactSet team.
- The FactSet RMS connector has been updated to include support for Contact data stored in IRN, as well as improvements to Notes and Custom Symbol retrieval.
SurveyMonkey (Connector Update)
The SurveyMonkey connector has been updated. Below are notes from the SurveyMonkey team.
- Version 1.2
- Major performance enhancements
- Minor bug fixes
- Support for the following SuveryMonkey features:
- Custom Variable exporting
- Sentiment analysis
Storytelling in PowerPoint
Microsoft is thrilled to announce the General Availability of Power BI’s integration with PowerPoint that enables users to easily include interactive Power BI visuals in their PowerPoint presentations.
With the GA of the Power BI add-in for PowerPoint:
- The Power BI/PowerPoint integration will be enabled in all Microsoft clouds.
- You’ll be able to add single visuals to PowerPoint slides, not just complete report pages.
- You can use smart insights to get a text narrative of the data displayed in the add-in.
Read more about all the exciting new features in the GA announcement: Power BI and PowerPoint: A Powerful Combination for Data Visualization is now generally available
Power BI org app Multiple Audiences
Following Microsofts last announcement in August of launching the Public Preview of Multiple Audiences for Power BI org apps, Microsoft shares that this feature is generally available starting March! With this, the multiple audience feature will now be supported by Power BI Mobile. As stated, with multiple audiences for an App Power BI App author can create multiple audience groups within the same App and assign different permissions to each group.
Please refer to Microsofts original blog for more information.
Announcing new Scanner API scenarios
The Scanner API is part of the Power BI admin API. It enables administrators to efficiently and automatically retrieve valuable information about their organization’s Power BI assets, such as inventory, metadata, and lineage. In turn, they can leverage this information for their own custom-made solutions.
The API was developed with the aim of improving the efficiency and performance of the Power BI scan so that it could support large numbers of data assets while still conforming to the security practices of organizations. The scanner supports service principle authentication and incremental scanning, and returns metadata such as endorsement status, sensitivity label, etc.
The Scanner API reached GA over a year ago, and a growing number of organizations now actively use it to better understand their products and to get information that helps them achieve their governance goals.
To further meet your needs and follow up on your requests, Microsoft has added several new capabilities over the past few months. They now also support:
- Additional artifact metadata: scheduled refresh settings, RDL data source properties
- Dataset sub-artifact metadata: dataset tables whose Enable load property is set to OFF, RLS configuration
- Dataset sub-artifact coverage: XMLA changes, Autogenerated datasets, Datasets created via Quick create and Quick share, Web modeling modifications
- Datamarts support
The image below is an example for scheduled refresh settings for Power BI models (dataset, dataflow, datamart)
To learn more about new Scanner API scenarios, read The Scanner API now includes even more metadata
This month Microsoft releases email subscriptions for scorecards. Subscriptions enable you to receive email notifications and stay up to date on the scorecards that matter most to you and your team.
To set up a subscription, select the Subscribe button in the ribbon.
Then select Add a new subscription in the pane that opens on the right side.
Enter the details about the subscription such as the name for the subscription, subject and email message details. Then set the frequency on how often you want to receive the emails such as: hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, set a scheduled time for the subscription: on the hour, or at 15, 30, or 45 minutes past; AM or PM; and specify the time zone. Select a Start date and optionally, an End date for the subscription. You can also include a link to the scorecard in the email and give recipients permission to view the scorecard. Finally select “Save and close”. After saving, you can edit the subscription, turn it on and off or delete the subscription.
Recipients will receive an email from Power BI with a table containing the scorecard data such as metric name, status, values and due date. The table will show up to 50 metrics.
You can add up to 24 subscriptions per scorecard, with unique recipients, times, and frequencies for each subscription. You can see all the subscriptions by opening the Subscriptions pane from a scorecard in My workspace, and selecting Manage all subscriptions; or from under the Settings > Subscriptions tab in the upper right corner of the Power BI service.
Note that you can subscribe to scorecards if you have a Pro license or PPU license or if scorecard is in a workspace backed by Premium capacity. You can subscribe other team members if in addition to above, you are a Contributor, Member, or Admin role in that workspace. If the scorecard isn’t hosted in a Premium capacity, others must also have a Pro license. You can add other email addresses in the same domain to the subscription. If the scorecard is hosted in a Premium capacity, you can subscribe group aliases, whether they’re in your domain or not. You can subscribe external users if scorecard is hosted in a Premium capacity.
Discover external orgs content in your mobile app
It has just gotten easier to access your external content from your Power BI mobile app. You no longer need to have a link to access such items – you can find them from within the app itself!
If you have access to items from external organizations, you can now have these items always show up for quick access on the app’s home page by default. Just tap the newly added drop down arrow on the third content strip to change Recommended to From external orgs. You can also access your external items by tapping More options… and selecting From external orgs.
Tapping an item takes you to the external tenant, where as a guest user you’ll be able to view all the content that’s been shared with you there.
Grant access on the go
You now get a push notification on your mobile app whenever someone requests access to one of your reports. Just tap the notification to respond immediately.
Source: Microsoft (Power BI)